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Football: Week 8 schedule, predictions

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Red Mountain's Conner Griner (18) scrambles for big yards during action Friday night at Mountain View High School. (Corey Cross/MyNewsMesa.com)

Cannon Griner was back at home on Friday.

The senior quarterback was split out wide on several occasions when Lance Lawson took over behind center in the Wildcat offensive package.

Griner lined up at wide receiver, and let’s just say he didn’t pull a Jay Cutler and just stand there. He was physical, banging heads with Mountain View defensive backs.

“That’s all he did last year was block,” Red Mountain coach Mike Peterson said. “He’s not out there just to take up a position. He did a great job blocking and that’s the type of mentality he brings to quarterback.”

Griner has always played quarterback at Red Mountain but didn’t see the field in that role until this year, and that probably wouldn’t have happened if Austin Duffy decided to play football and baseball.

He’s probably coming off his best game as the Mountain Lions prepare for Mesa this week.

Griner completed 15 of 21 passes for a season-high 198 yards, and a score. He looked good on rollouts and ran for a couple of first downs.

He was in full command of the game, and has continued to develop as the regular season is down to just a handful of games.

Griner is completing 63 percent of his passes on the year for 1,063 yards with five touchdowns and five interceptions.

“He’s just a winner,” Peterson said. “That’s why he is our quarterback. He is just a winner.”

Here is a look at this week’s games:

Desert Ridge (6-1, 2-0) at Mountain Pointe (6-1, 2-0)

One of the teams the Desert Ridge has struggled with since Jeremy Hathcock took over the program has been Mountain Pointe, which owns a 5-1 record since 2009 in the series.

Both coaches take pride in being physical and this year is no different.

The Pride have played two close games since Central Region began against Desert Vista and Highland, and Mountain Pointe has struggled over the years when it plays over fall break.

Desert Ridge has been thumping opponents since losing to Hamilton on Sept. 8 with a margin of victory being 24.8 points during a four-game win streak.

The Jaguars will have a much tougher time this week against the No. 2 Pride and are in jeopardy of losing their fifth straight against in Mountain Pointe.

We will go with Mountain Pointe, but wouldn’t be surprised if the Jaguars came out on top.

Mountain Pointe 35, Desert Ridge 24

Mountain View’s McKay Barney (10) gets into the end zone during action Friday night at Mountain View High School. (Corey Cross/MyNewsMesa.com)

Mountain View  (3-4, 0-2) at Dobson (3-4, 0-2)

Mountain View has lost three of four including two in a row in East Valley Region play.

The Mustangs are about to feel the brunt of the Toros’ frustration.

Mountain View has some quality players and good coaches, but have struggled against the good teams on the schedule.

The Toros probably need to win out in order to make the playoffs.

Dobson has sunk to the bottom of the East Valley Region standings and need to play with more consistency in order to close the gap.

Mountain View 42, Dobson 13

Mesa’s Edward McClendon hauls in a pass as Westwood’s Joss Franco closes in on him. (Darryl Webb/MyNewsMesa.com)

Mesa (3-5, 1-1) at Red Mountain (5-2, 2-0)

The Jackrabbits are coming off a game where they weren’t competitive against Skyline, which won 44-14.

Mesa needs to hit some big pass play early to create some running room for Kris Jackson.

A fun matchup to watch will be Jackson, who is tough to bring down one-on-one, against Red Mountain linebacker Delton Jackson, who is one of the best linebackers in the state and makes a lot of solo tackles.

Red Mountain played its best game last week in most areas, but still lost four fumbles and had 16 penalties. If the Mountain Lions clean all of that up and play like they did in the other facets of the game they will be hard to beat.

Red Mountain 31, Mesa 7

Here is the rest of the 6A Conference schedule (predicted winner in bold)

Thursday

Alhambra at North

Friday

Perry at Brophy

Cesar Chavez at Central

Kofa at Cibola

La Joya at Copper Canyon

Gilbert at Corona del Sol

Basha at Hamilton

Desert Vista at Highland

Desert Mountain at Horizon

Tucson at Ironwood Ridge

Boulder Creek at Mountain Ridge

Sunnyside at Rincon

Millennium at Tolleson

Maryvale at Trevor Browne

Valley Vista at Westview

Last week: 14-5. Season’s record: 126-50 (.716)

– Jason P. Skoda is a senior writer for MyNewsMesa.com. Send Mesa-based story ideas to jskoda@mynewsmesa.com.

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